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Fine Arts For Kids Summer Camp opens at studio

By Staff | Jun 20, 2011

MICHAEL PISTELLA Elijah Grant, 7, molds the edge of a piece of clay that will become a plate during Cape Coral Arts Studio’s Fine Arts For Kids Camp Monday.

Thirty-five kids attended the first day of the week-long Cape Coral Arts Studio’s Fine Arts For Kids Summer Camp Monday morning. The theme of the camp is “Steamboat Willie” and the youngsters are creating projects inspired by the 1928 appearance of Mickey Mouse with clay, drawings and paint.
Monday morning, Teri Aldred, a clay artist, worked with 16 kids, who ranged in age from 5 to 8, teaching them about clay.
Aldred said since she thinks of the kids as artists, she teaches them about the kiln, clay and glaze, so they fully understand what they are doing and how the process of creating pottery unravels.
Each youngster was provided with a paper plate, a circular piece of clay and another paper plate to put on top of the clay to create a mold for a ceramic plate.
Once the mold was created, the campers had the opportunity to draw a cartoon sketch of their choice for the face of the plate. The kids worked diligently trying to perfect their masterpieces, which sometimes were erased with their hand to provide a new canvas to work with.
Sophia Skweir, 7, who attended the camp for the second time this year, was having fun designing her ceramic plate. She said she liked it because it’s almost like a dinner plate that you can put anything on.
“It’s really good,” she said about the camp. “They teach us a lot about art.”
Alexa Hillery, 8, also decided to attend the camp again this year because she enjoys working with clay on the wheel.
“I like pottery,” she said, because she has the opportunity to feel the texture of the clay.
Although she enjoys pottery, Alexa said she likes the camp because she has the chance to work with all kinds of art.
Aldred has her students sign all of their artwork to encourage them to be proud of what they create.
“I encourage them to focus and improve on their own skills,” she said. “They need to be proud of their own work.”
The kids will use self-drying clay for the rest of the week as they mold their own designs and apply glaze for color. Aldred said the self-drying clay is more artsy for the kids to use.
Katie Keezer, a 3rd grade teacher at Oasis Elementary School, provided a helping hand this week, helping Aldred with the clay projects.
“I really enjoy it,” she said about the art camp. “It’s really fun.”
Ann McCarty, an oil painter, worked with the older kids, 9-13 years old,
Monday morning as they developed their own cartoon character drawing. She said the drawing had to have one friend, along with an enemy if they chose to include that in the picture.
Before the youngsters began their drawing, McCarty talked about “Steamboat Willie” and the simple shapes that were used to create a character that was made to look human.
The students were encouraged to use simple shapes for their drawings by using their imagination. McCarty said some of the kids also included an environment of where their character lives.
Taylor Corcoran, who will turn 13 on Wednesday, said she has attended the art camp for a couple of years because she enjoys the pottery and drawing class.
For her drawing, she created an elephant and bird who were friends. Taylor said she wanted to draw the elephant because it was easy, due to the shapes she used to create it.
“You learn a lot about each of the media and it’s a lot of fun doing it,” she said, explaining why she enjoys the summer art camp.
The campers will work with the same character they created Monday morning for the rest of the week, by adding paint and using their imagination to make a cartoon.
McCarty said the older kids will make a book using the cartoon character they created.
Aldred began teaching at the Arts Studio 12 years ago.
“I am just a big kid that plays in the mud,” she said about why she enjoys working with the kids. “I love the interaction with the kids.”
Aldred said the nice thing about the summer camp is that the majority of the kids really want to be there.
Although McCarty has taught summer camp for seven years in Lee County, this is the first year she has taught at the Arts Studio. She said she would have loved the chance to attend a camp like this when she was younger.
“I am happy to provide that for the kids,” McCarty said about the camp. “I love when they use their imagination. That’s fun.”
At the end of the week a reception will be held for the students at the studio, so they can show off all of their pieces they created to their family in a gallery setting. Aldred said the kids help hang all of the artwork, so they can see how a gallery show works.
Taylor said she enjoys the gallery because it is fun to see all of her artwork hanging on the wall, along with seeing what the other students created.
The camp also includes a visit from a guest artist for an hour twice a week, which Aldred said is nice because it gives them a glimpse of what their future may hold.